The Georgia Southern University Student Government Association is preparing for another year’s elections but what is notable about this year is that the top two positions are contested for the first time in three years.
“The three previous elections before last year’s election were completely uncontested and last year’s was partially contested,” Jacob Jay, SGA presidential candidate, said.
From April 7 to 9, SGA will hold its upcoming election through WINGS to replace the current roster of officers and usher in new ones.
“More competition means the best candidate’s going to win,” Will McKinney, SGA vice president of finance candidate, said.
Last year’s election had all but two offices, VP of academic affairs and VP of auxiliary affairs, with more than one candidate running for it. All prior elections had no such exception.
“Competition is very healthy, it’s good so students can always say that they had their choice and at the end of the day no matter what happens, we know that whoever wins, that’s who students want,” Ellen Hogan, executive vice president candidate, said.
With multiple candidates come multiple platforms, multiple tickets and multiple directions to take SGA.
“It is important for candidates to be different to represent differences in students,” Azell Francis, presidential candidate, said.
Georgia Southern University draws students from across and beyond the state. The campus even boasts students from other countries. This diversity necessitates candidates that account for the variety of backgrounds and livelihoods on the campus.
Even though the SGA is meant to reflect the students as well as be the voice of the students, SGA elections do not draw a large crowd. Out of over 20,000 students on campus, less than 2,000 usually vote. Homecoming elections garner more votes than SGA and part of the problem lies in elections with no agency in them whatsoever.
“Why would I vote for the president if no one is running against him?” Jay said.
On top of justified voter apathy, SGA, despite all their work, does not foster a sense of investment.
“Homecoming has student’s interests at stake,” Francis said, “SGA is not as apparent.”
This all comes on the heels of the Fund Fair held last week in the Russell Union Rotunda. By trying to show students where their money goes and illustrate the amount of work and effort SGA invests in their service, it might have made SGA more personal to students.
These efforts underline the importance of student votes in elections and will hopefully garner more voter turnout.